Image of the Day: Golden Ratio

Like sunflowers and snail shells, the spiraled proboscis of a butterfly conforms to the Golden Ratio.

By The Scientist Staff | March 11, 2015

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Avatar of: Paul Stein

Paul Stein

Posts: 237

March 11, 2015

Reading the entire article and probing the figures carefully, it appears that there is quite the picking and choosing of data with the careful use of statistics to confirm the hypothesis to fit the presupposed conclusion.  Anyone using enough sets of data with enough sets of spirals can probably always find the Golden Ratio somewhere.  Such is the danger of curve-fitting and a bit of subconscious bias.. 

Avatar of: MicroTech


Posts: 17

March 11, 2015

The spiraled proboscis of the pictured butterfly does not conform to the Golden Ratio— not even close. One would expect TheScientist staff, as “science reporters” to do some homework before publishing... Wikipedia offers a decent starting point, at goo.gl/kD0QIO. Figure 5 (in the referenced journal) “invents” a way to see a golden ratio in a proboscis which is completely bogus: picking any two arbitrary points would show the golden ratio everywhere.

Just seeing a spiral pattern in Nature does not make the pattern “golden”... The best debunking of the “golden spiral folklore” (published in the referenced article, and in innumerable other publications, where the author no doubt uncritically picked it up), that I have found (so far) is this: goo.gl/EqsBpY

One wonders... Is "peer review" a thing of the past altogether?

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